We can influence other people
by Rachael Crisp
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage us to positively influence those around us.
Preparation and materials
You will need a selection of toys and a schoolbook.
Optional: you may wish to have a dictionary available so that you can look up the definition of ‘influence’.
Ask the children to think of things that make them happy or good things that they see around them. If they are struggling for answers, you may want to offer examples such as the people who help them, the kindness that they see around them and the beauty of the world.
Listen to a range of responses.
Ask the children to think of things that are bad in this world. If they are struggling for answers, you may want to offer examples such as fighting, diseases, war, selfishness and bullying.
Listen to a range of responses.
Explain that sometimes, we can feel very small because we can’t change some of the things that happen in the world, such as wars. However, there are many things that we can help to change. Each person has the ability to influence other people.
Explain that the Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘influence’ as ‘the capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself’. Alternatively, invite a volunteer to look up the word in the dictionary.
Explain that although we may not be able to influence the whole world, we can influence those around us. We all influence friends, families, school and the community. We all have choices as to whether we are influences for ‘good’ or for ‘bad’.
Christians believe that the Bible teaches that God wants us to use our ability to influence others for the good; to encourage, help, support and be kind to others. Every time we talk to someone, it is an opportunity to be an influence for good. Every time we do something, it is an opportunity to do something good.
All of us have the amazing ability to influence others for good.
Ask the children for ideas as to how they can be good influences each day.
Listen to a range of responses and then pick up the selection of toys.
Ask the children how they could be good influences with the toys. Examples could be that sharing with others could influence other children to do the same thing or that tidying the toys away at the end of a play session could encourage others to do the same or could simply make a parent or teacher very happy!
Put down the toys and then pick up the schoolbook.
Ask the children how they could be good influences with the schoolbook. Explain that treating the book carefully and with respect could encourage others to do so, which would help to avoid the books becoming damaged or torn. Also, reading a book to a younger brother, younger sister or friend could help them learn to read or show them how important learning to read is.
Point out that behaviour such as being disrespectful, shouting out, calling someone names, being rude and being unkind could influence others to follow our example and do the same. This is especially true with younger children and it means that we are using our influence for bad.
Time for reflection
Each of us has a choice as to how we influence other people. We can choose to use our influence for good or for bad. We can be a good influence or a bad influence: it is our choice.
Thank you for giving us the ability to have an influence on people around us.
Help us to realize that we influence our families, friends, school, neighbours and the people in our community.
Help us to use our abilities to influence people for good.
‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65)